MTV launches tool to end digital abuse

    MTV is celebrating young people who choose to be kind while they’re online with a new website.







    MTV is celebrating young people who choose to be kind while they’re online with a new website.

    The network’s A Thin Line campaign unveiled
    Draw Your Line earlier this week. It’s described as an interactive online visualization that highlights all the measures teens are taking to end digital abuse. MTV defines digital abuse as any form of technological harassment, including cyber bullying, "sexting" and spying.

    A poll by MTV and the Associated Press found that 50 percent of people between the ages of 14 and 24 claim to have been the target of digital abuse at some point in their lives. With cyber bullying being linked to a tragic rash of suicides, including that of gay Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, the issue has become incredibly important for young adults.

    “No generation has ever come of age dealing with the consequences of large-scale digital abuse,” said Jason Rzepka, vice president of MTV Public Affairs. “MTV is partnering with our audience to help turn the tide on this uniquely 21st century issue—and empowering them to develop a new code of ethics for the digital age.”

    MTV’s hope is that the Draw Your Line will inspire more young people to become part of the solution by personally taking steps to end digital harassment. 

    That’s certainly the case with Draw Your Line, which was inspired by an idea from Michael Bastianelli. The 24-year-old submitted a proposal for the site as part of an MTV contest and won $10,000 for it. 

    “Digital abuse is an issue that has the potential to get worse as technology evolves,” Michael explained. “I’ve personally been affected by [cyber bullying] and bullying, and I know just how hurtful and damaging it can be. The only way we can prevent this flood of abuse is to be proactive about it.”
    Among the tools on the Draw Your Line website are quizzes that rate how harmless your online behavior is (or isn’t). The site also provides resources for those seeking help for digital abuse and outlines all the forms it can take. Finally, it gives users tips on the individual steps they can take to protect themselves from harassment. 



    – Sonya Eskridge




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